The man labeled as the brains behind a Dark Net drug ring as lost his appeal that was filed against his guilty verdict.
Neil Mannion was sentenced after he plead guilty in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court last year to possessing €143,000 worth of drugs that were to be resold on the Dark Net. The drugs were found after a search was executed at Bankhouse business Center on November 5th, 2014.
Justice George Birmingham dismissed Mannion’s appeal by saying:
We have information relating to a particular computer’s IP address. This IP address is known to have been engaged in the sale and supply of drugs via the Dark Net.
Mannion was put under watch after an anonymous tip was given, and was seen visiting the address in correlation with the IP address in question. The search revealed a scale, multiple pre-paid Visa cards, A vacuum packaging machine and equipment, Mylar envelopes, and shipping products. During his arrest, Mannion admitted his role had been as a Dark Net Vendor:
People would put in orders over the internet, and I would package and send the items. Orders were shipped to several countries including the UK, US, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Finland and Ireland. I realize now that I have made a very big mistake. When I first started, I didn’t expect to have hundreds of customers or get so much attention. Things just flew a bit out of control.
Mannion was labeled as being cooperative when interviewed, and turned over information including passwords, usernames, and as well as explained how the markets operated, and how he shipped the drugs without getting caught.
One of the arresting officers, Det. Sgt. Brian Roberts, commented that Mannion wasn’t the normal criminal they are used to dealing with. He said that Mannion had a long history of abusing drugs but came from an ordinary background.
Michael Bowman SC, Mannion’s defense, turned in a slew of testimonials from Eircom, where Mannion had worked until 2013. Bowman also stated he felt that Mannion’s sentence was harsh and excessive especially when compared to that of Mannion’s partner. But the judge threw out the appeal saying Mannion and his partner had very different roles in the operation, and that is the reason the sentences differed significantly. The Judge also cited a statement from the original judge in Mannion’s case; which was:
Mr. Mannion appears to be the brains of the operation, while his co-accused followed his instructions.